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29 Mar 2010 : Column 635W—continued

Unemployment: Cambridgeshire

Mr. Vara: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate she has made of the level of long-term unemployment in North-West Cambridgeshire constituency. [324597]

Angela E. Smith: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:

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New Aircraft Carriers

9. Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on the programme for the new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. [324454]

Mr. Quentin Davies: Work on the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers is now under way in five UK shipyards-Appledore, Rosyth, Govan, Portsmouth and Tyne. Work is due to start at the sixth and final yard, Birkenhead, in the next few months.

In addition, equipment sub-contracts to the value of some £1.2 billion have been placed to date, helping to support local economies across the UK.

Defence Spending

18. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which financial years defence spending decreased in real terms in comparison with the previous year between 1997 and 2009. [324463]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Every spending review since 1997 has awarded Defence a real terms rise over the period it covered and defence spending in cash terms has risen every year since 1997.

Defence spending declined in real terms in 1997-98, 1999-2000, 2004-05 and 2006-07. However, in cash terms defence spending has risen every year since 1997.

These figures include the costs of operations, which vary significantly from year to year, and are funded from the Reserve. The Treasury has met every request for Urgent Operational Requirements for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Service Veterans: Mental Health

19. Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of long-term mental health support for armed forces veterans. [324464]

Mr. Kevan Jones: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (James Duddridge).


20. Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effects on the future of NATO of his Department's policies on European military co-operation. [324465]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence's policies on European military co-operation are designed to be both supportive of, and supported by, NATO. Greater coherence and effectiveness on the part of the Europeans can only lead to a stronger Alliance.

We will continue to work with our European partners at various levels including: bilaterally; in NATO; in the EU; and in the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe, to ensure that Europe can play its role in ensuring a safe and secure world.

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Devonport Naval Base

21. Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the role of HM Naval Base Devonport in warship maintenance and repair. [324466]

Bill Rammell: On 6 May 2009, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence confirmed that all three naval bases, at Devonport, Portsmouth and on the Clyde, have strong futures and will continue to play a vital role in supporting the Royal Navy. Devonport will retain and enhance its position as the centre of excellence for surface ship and submarine deep maintenance (upkeep) activity. In addition, it will undertake Fleet Time Engineering support for base-ported ships and for visiting sea training vessels.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Afghanistan. [324467]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Clwyd, West (Mr. Jones).

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have been deployed within field hospitals during Operation Herrick since April 2009; and how many and what proportion were reservist medical personnel. [324584]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The numbers of service personnel deployed to field hospitals is shown in the following table:

Operation Herrick Total personnel of which r eservists as a percentage

April to October 2009




October 2009 to April 2010




It should be noted that reservists deploy for periods of three months rather than six months for regular armed forces personnel. As such, the reservists figures look artificially high because they reflect two three-month deployments rather than one six-month deployment.

Air Space

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions since 2005 foreign military aircraft have entered restricted UK airspace over Na h-Eileanan an Iar without permission; [325037]

(2) what investigation has been conducted by (a) the Royal Air Force and (b) his Department into Russian aircraft flying into restricted UK airspace over Na h-Eileanan an Iar. [325036]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: No Russian or any other foreign military aircraft have ever entered any part of UK sovereign airspace without permission.

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All events where quick reaction alert aircraft have been launched are routinely collated and analysed by Defence officials.

The RAF's air defence capability to detect and deter aircraft approaching UK airspace is just one layer of a multi-layered approach that the UK Government take to protect UK and NATO-monitored airspace.

Animal Experiments

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what budgetary provision his Department has made in 2010-11 for the conducting, directly or otherwise, of scientific procedures on animals; and how much was spent on this in 2009-10. [323211]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Ministry of Defence funds an overarching scientific research programme which includes specific aspects which incorporate projects that require studies involving the use of animals. These are undertaken at DSTL Porton Down.

The DSTL accounting system does not differentiate the proportion of the budget that is spent solely on animal studies.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many animals of each species were used in scientific procedures (a) commissioned directly by his Department and (b) otherwise undertaken pursuant to decisions taken by his Department in the latest year for which figures are available. [323213]

Mr. Quentin Davies: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 23 March 2010, Official Report, columns 167-68W, to the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell).

Armed Forces: Health Services

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much his Department has spent on long-term care for severely wounded soldiers in each of the last five years; [321370]

(2) how much his Department has allocated to long-term care of severely wounded soldiers in the next 10 years. [321371]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Members of the armed forces who sustain serious injuries that require long-term care will receive appropriate treatment funded by MOD for as long as they remain in-Service. Funding has been, and will continue to be, made available to match clinical requirements, including surges in casualty numbers. Funding will come from a wide range of sources and budgets across the three services, and comprehensive financial data for the past five years are not readily available.

Those who remain in-service will continue to receive medical treatment through the Defence Medical Services as required. Suitable adaptations will be made to both working and service-provided living accommodation if necessary. Ongoing welfare support is also available from the individual's chain of command, through the defence welfare services, and from service charities.

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For those who are medically discharged from the services, their care and its funding then become the responsibility of the NHS. We take steps to enable them to receive the continuing treatment and care that they deserve. In this context, my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Health informed the House on 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 15WS, that:

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 14 October
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2009, Official Report, column 953W, whether a complete set of data on the extent to which armed forces medical personnel are in breach of the single service harmony guidelines is now available. [324585]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Army data have now been collected but analysis of the information is not yet complete.

Armed Forces: Interpreters

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military linguists proficient in (a) Pashto and (b) Dari are employed by his Department; and how many of each have been employed by his Department in each year since 2001. [323676]

Bill Rammell: The information is as follows:

Pashto Dari

Higher level Lower level Higher level Lower level














































2010 (now)





(1) Approximately

Employed is interpreted as serving in HM armed forces. The figures above reflect serving personnel with current language skills; account has been taken of personnel who have left HM armed forces with language skills and those who no longer have currency in their language skills.

Higher level training enables trusted translation. Lower level training enables linguists to undertake basic military business in limited scenarios. The majority of the higher level capability requirement is provided by contractors and locally employed civilians. Figures for 2010 are approximate, based on forecast training output for the first three months. The number being trained at the lower level in both languages will increase significantly during 2010. Higher level Pashto and Dari numbers will also increase in 2010 as courses are completed.

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